Transition to practice

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Transitioning from residency to full-time practice can be overwhelming. There are so many decisions to be made and very little time to make them. We want to help.

The Alberta Medical Association (AMA) has gathered resources to help you with this important time in your career, from meeting deadlines to certification and licensing requirements, to managing the financial choices you will face and choosing how you want to practice.

Before the end of your final year: Administrative requirements for practicing

There are a number of steps you must complete as a senior resident in order to practice. The following tools and resources will help you keep track of important milestones and tasks.

Certification, credentials, examinations and accreditation

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)

During your residency, you may have maintained a free resident’s membership in the Royal College. Once you have been certified as a Fellow, you: 

  • Have the privilege of using the professional designations FRCPC or FRCSC.
  • Can automatically enroll in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program (required), to plan for continuing professional development. 
  • Become eligible for awards and grants – the Royal College distributes more than $1 million every year.

Most candidates take their certification examination in the final year of their postgraduate training program (specialty disciplines – spring; subspecialties – fall).

The College of Family Physicians of Canada

The Certification Examination in Family Medicine is open to members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) who have successfully completed an approved residency training program in family medicine.

If successful, you will be able to use the designation CCFP (Certification in the College of Family Physicians).

The examinations are held twice per year, in the spring and fall.

You will be responsible for maintaining these credentials through your ongoing membership in the CFPC and your participation in their Maintenance of Certification Program (MAINPRO®).

Learn more about eligibility for CFPC certification 
Find CCFP examination information


To practice in Alberta, you must be registered with the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta.

When you successfully complete the RCPSC or CFPC examinations, this information will be provided to the CPSA. However, you must complete an application for membership prior to beginning your practice (additional examination results can follow).

Review the CPSA Registration FAQ
Apply for post-graduate training

Hospital privileges

To apply for privileges, most hospitals will have a form for you to fill out. You may be asked questions about:

  • your residency and/or fellowships
  • any clinical and/or teaching positions
  • your previous hospital privileges
  • any previous denial of privileges

The hospital will request a number of documents, which may include:

  • résumé
  • certificates 
  • licenses 
  • evidence of relevant experience 
  • reference letters 
  • recent photograph

Hospital privileges usually require approval by the medical affairs committee, or equivalent body, and possibly others. Be sure to apply for privileges at least one month prior to the planned work term.

AMA membership

Don’t forget to contact the AMA to renew, update your membership category or apply for membership in the AMA. The AMA is your voice: we negotiate with Alberta Health and manage the physician services budget.

Apply for membership in the AMA/renew membership

Practitioner identification number

Most physicians in Alberta do not receive a salary. Instead they:

  • Bill the Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan (AHCIP) on a fee-for-service basis. 
  • Receive remuneration through an alternate relationship plan (ARP).

To practice under either business arrangement with Alberta Health, you must have a practitioner identification number (PRAC ID). This includes referring physicians who do not submit claims themselves.

Malpractice insurance

It is important to have malpractice insurance in place when you begin practicing. As a resident, some or all of these costs may have been paid by your employer — as a practicing physician, you must arrange this coverage yourself.

Before graduating, contact the Canadian Medical Protective Association.

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